As a working mom of two, I rely a lot on nearby stores for convenience. I only have a small window of time in the evening. It is between the time I leave work to going home and getting the kids fed and ready for bed.
My baby is nine month old. Though he is only an infant, with elderly parents living outside the US, we feel the need of getting our travel documents ready in case of emergency.
One of the requirements to apply for a US International Passport is to have a printed picture that meets the State Department requirements. We were advised to use a professional passport photo service to ensure the legibility.
I know CVS has a professional passport photo service. I see them advertising it all the time. To make it better, I had a $2 off coupon. Before going into the store, I combed my baby’s hair, straightened his shirt, and told him that we were going to get his passport picture taken at CVS. I was excited and couldn’t wait to see my son getting his passport picture for the first time.
Being a regular customer at CVS in Copley, Ohio (Store Number: 3092, Copley Circle – corner of Cleveland-Massilon and Copley Road), I had confidence that their professional passport photo service was going to be pleasant.
There was nobody at the photo center, so the cashier (nice lady, by the way) paged the photographer to help with my request. We waited for a bit, which wasn’t a big deal.
As soon as the photographer (who turned out to be the shift chief) learned our purpose, she quickly said,”I can’t take a picture of the baby.” My first question that came out of my mouth was, “WHY?”
She said,”I can’t take a passport picture of a baby.” “He is too small.” I was like WHAT? Where is the professional passport picture photographer that CVS had been advertising all the time? I told her that I needed her help with my passport picture need as I do not have the equipment to do it on my own.
I kept asking her to give it a try and I would be willing to pay for the service fee even if it didn’t work. She kept telling me no.
She replied,”I can not take a picture of a person who can’t stand up on their own.” Then I suggested, what if we put him sitting down on a stool and see how it goes? NO! Then she mentioned about liability and raised her voice. “OK, what if I support his back and make sure I am not in the picture? Let’s us give it a try, so I can sleep well at night?” “NO!!” “NO!!” “NO!!”
She instead asked me to go to a photo studio to have my baby’s passport picture taken.
I felt disrespected, discriminated, and embarrassed. I felt that by the way I was treated, it was my fault that I had a baby who needed his passport picture taken, and it was my fault that my baby wasn’t able to stand up on his own yet.
Where is the professional passport photo service that CVS has been advertising?
CVS website stated that “Our photo technicians are trained to ensure that your passport and ID photos adhere to strict federal regulations.”
If that’s so, how could the photographer not know how to take a picture of an infant where it was clearly stated on the State Department website how to do it step by step?
Did the photographer not get the proper training she needed? Or was her personal ego of not wanting to tell the customer that she didn’t know how the driving force behind the rude behavior I was given? If I was presented the scenario that they didn’t have the appropriate person with adequate training and skills, I would be understanding and willing to come back again tomorrow. Rude behaviors with the expectation that the customer would go away as quickly as possible does not take anyone anywhere.
If the passport photo service at CVS does not apply when it comes to infant/toddler, please let us (moms of infants) know up front. No customers would be disappointed if they were informed of the limitation ahead of time.
Walgreens can offer passport photos for infants, CVS can’t…
I went to Walgreens as a second attempt. I didn’t have any coupon, but had my son’s passport picture ready, and printed within minutes at Walgreens (corner of West Market Street and Miller Road in Akron, OH). Talk about a customer service satisfaction contrast.